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Fury vs Wilder 2: Bernard Hopkins picked Wilder; Chimes in on fight, rematch and excuses

Lee Cleveland Updated
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Earlier this year, fight legend Bernard Hopkins was correct when inisting Wilder vs Fury 2 would be a total blowout. But unfortunately for B-HOP, he picked the wrong guy during an interview with Seconds Out's Radio Rahim.

"You're gonna see [in] the second fight where Wilder [will have] a killer instinct and [will] finish him, which he knows he didn't do the first time,"Hopkins told Rahim.

"It'll be one-sided."

The legend also stated he believed Wilder clearly won their first bout in December 2018 and hinted Fury's ability to make it through all 12 rounds was Tyson's only accomplishment that evening.

0 026 Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury

"It's a victory for Fury that he survived and Wilder slacked up in the later championship rounds."

"TAKE THAT AWAY [and] Wilder was winning the fight pretty easily to me!"

"I will not do interviews for a year [if Fury beats Wilder]," a smiling Hopkins told Seconds Out's Radio Rahim.

To clarify, Hopkins meant he 'wouldn't give interviews with anyone else except Radio Rahim' for an entire year should Fury be triumphant.

"Anyone who knows me knows it's very hard to keep my mouth shut. There's gonna have to be a lot of duct tape everywhere I sit," he jokingly quipped.

Earlier this week, Boxing Insider caught up with the fabled Hopkins who, of course, was more than happy to break his pledge to Seconds Out and discuss Wilder vs Fury 2 as well as the rematch in July.

“The Heavyweight division had been sort of in a coma for quite some time,” said Hopkins on Boxing Insider Radio. “Even though Fury dominated the fight, until the fight became final, there was plenty of drama and suspense. It [brought] the heavyweight division back into the spotlight.... It lived up to all the expectations. It was a great success based on getting boxing back into the forefront of sports.”

Agreeing with cornerman Mark Breland's decision to stop the fight, Hopkins added, "I picked Wilder to win a decision, and Fury proved a lot of people wrong, he had a game plan and that game plan was to put pressure, come forward and... smother that right hand."

"Immediately, [Fury] didn't try to box him. He didn't try to do anything else but come forward. And Wilder had to try to keep him off and he couldn’t.”

Should Wilder have exercised the immediate rematch clause?

Deontay Wilder's decision to face Tyson Fury again in July should come as no surprise. He genuinely believes he was wronged by Breland's surrender. And although unsteady from Rounds 3-7, Wilder hadn't been KO'd by Fury so, in his heart, he will always believe he could have knocked out Tyson had the fight not been stopped.

skysports wilder ortiz 4246304
In his first fight against KO artist Luis Ortiz, Wilder was clearly on the verge of being knocked out when he came back to stop Ortiz a few rounds later.

Given Wilder has known nothing but success in boxing and is always a knockout threat with the monster right hand he harbours, no one will be successful in convincing him couldn't have won Fight No. 2. And nothing will... Sans, perhaps, a third fight.

Champions are the last to accept defeat... And that's part of what makes them champions. But Hopkins, thinking more like a business savvy boxing manager and wise ol' trainer these days than a hungry fighter seeking redemption, doesn't think Deontay should have enforced the immediate rematch clause.

Fury vs Wilder 3
July 18, 2020
Tyson Fury (C) vs Deontay Wilder 3
MGM Grand Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV, USA
12 rounds, RING Magazine / WBC heavyweight titles

“If you ask me do I think he should have exercised it now? I would say no," said Hopkins on Boxing Insider Radio.

"I would say 'let him fight Joshua and you fight the winner.' Now you get two instead of one. I’m not surprised he took the immediate rematch because Wilder wants to get back in the mix and he wants to redeem himself, but I would have advised against it. I just think he has Wilder’s number.”

Enforcing the rematch clause: A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush?
Bernard made a fine point in that Deontay Wilder could have placed himself in the position of a top seed by holding out for the winner of Joshua vs Fury. But, that would be risky as Wilder would have had no guarantee in place to face the winner. If, for instance, Fury defeated AJ there would be nothing in place, legally, to force the Brit to fight Wilder again.

... And given Wilder's performances against Fury, the public probably wouldn't have demanded Wilder vs Fury 3 or Wilder vs Joshua immediately following a Fury-Joshua showdown.

Indeed, a guaranteed superfight in-hand can be viewed as better than two future "possibilities." However, and in this case, it's also the more dangerous option for Wilder because Deontay hasn't been able to outbox or outbrawl Fury and can't figure out how to generate much offense against the 6'9" Brit.

What about Wilder's costume excuse?

“It doesn’t make any sense to me. But nevertheless, in my 30 plus years in boxing, I can tell you 'excuses weigh thin after the fact,'" Hopkins told Boxing Insider.

"Fury is probably the best boxer-puncher in the heavyweight division." Saying Fury moves like a cruiserweight, Hopkins added, " I think he's a problem for anybody."

"Wilder didn’t have a teacher there."

"There is no way in the world that a teacher would let you come out with a costume that heavy and go in there and fight 12 rounds with a guy that can fight. Not only can Fury fight but he’s also 6 foot 9 and weighs 270 pounds. He’s gonna lean on you and you’re gonna go in there with all of that armor?”

“You’re not fighting with that stuff on,” continued Hopkins. “You got that armor stuff on like you’re going to be taking bullets or something. This is insane. There is just no way he should have picked out an outfit like that anyways, and it isn’t just because it weighed too much either. It just costs too much damn money.  I guarantee you that outfit costs at least six figures.”

Bernard offers his strategy for Wilder to upset Tyson in Fury vs Wilder 3

Unless Team Wilder can quickly - and dramatically - alter it's game plan for Fight No. 3, Deontay won't have a chance to unseat Fury so long as the latter is in shape and motivated.

And while Hopkins still believes Wilder got things right in the first fight (which was ruled a draw) and should use it as a guideline for success against Fury, most seem to think Wilder, even in that effort, fell short. 

"He [Deontay Wilder] has to do everything he did the first fight... He must be first," B-HOP told Boxing Insider Radio. He must be in position to hit and not get hit. And he must use his small frame and athletic ability to make Fury not only burn out, but make him miss. He must get Fury frustrated. He must do a little of what Fury does to him."

"He must do all these things to make Fury feel he needs to win by knockout."

"And that's the frustration part. You've gotta take [Tyson Fury] out of his game plan.... Whether he can do this (or not), it's going to be very, very, very, very difficult for him to accomplish."

Based on his tone, Hopkins appears to be picking Tyson Fury to win in July.

What strategies would you offer Team Wilder in Fight No. 3?


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